Being part of Administration and Finance team, I rarely get a chance to visit the field and witness the impact of our work. I was recently on a trip to conduct an audit of our partners.
Along with one of my colleagues, I visited one of our projects which aims to create livelihood opportunities for adolescent girls who are out of school. We left in the early hours of the morning, and as we crossed the city limits, we were greeted by lush greenery, fresh air, and everything that I miss living in a mega city.
It only took half an hour to go through all financial records and supporting documents. We were keen to see more evidence of the impact of the work, and a coordinator working on the project suggested that we can visit one of the centres located in the vicinity to get first-hand experience of the work.
After a short ride we parked outside a school in a nearby village, we tip-toed through waterlogged pathway to reach the centre. At the entrance of a small house, a group of children (not all of same age) were playing while some young girls and young mothers were attending a session on learning the stitching skills. There were about 16 women attending the session.
After the session, we approached them and asked about their learning experience at the centre, and how they intend using their skills. They all chatted excitedly about it and showed us their work: shirts, frocks, trousers. Some of them also told about their plans of having their own shops after completing the training. That they hoped that they will earn money by putting their newly acquired skills to work, hope that the money they earn will help them make their own decisions, and hope that they will be more independent.
It was an experience unlike anything else. It’s one thing to read about programs in reports and checking the bills and invoices of expenses incurred in the execution of the program; while it’s totally different to actually see the impact that our work has on the lives of the women and girls.
The experience taught me an essential aspect of empowerment – “Hope”. Hope, that tomorrow will be better than today.